Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020 - 44

Julia Nunnally Duncan has kept the old tools
and toolbox that were part of the construction
of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

in the CCC camp because of their uniforms. They dressed like servicemen, and
you kind of looked up to them. When we
drove up the mountain, you could see
them working along the highway. Some
of them boys was good-looking."
In photographs made during his World
War I days, my great-uncle Condia was at-

44

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

tractive. Tall and slender in his doughboy
uniform, he posed with his rifle and bayonet and made a striking soldier.
But when he worked in the CCC, he
was in his 40s and divorced, there being
no age or marital status restrictions for
veterans. Unlike the single boys my mother remembers-typical CCC enrollees who
were between 18 and 25 years old-Condia was a mature man, tempered by war
and life, when he worked on the Blue
Ridge Parkway.
Of course my father's best memory of
the CCC was his uncle Condia's connection with it.
Years ago while I was visiting my parents, my father said he wanted to give
me something.
I followed him outside to his tool
building. He unlocked the door, and we
went inside. On a wooden shelf sat a tattered toolbox.
"This belonged to my uncle," he said
and opened the toolbox. He removed
several chisels. "He used these stone cutter's tools when he worked on the Blue
Ridge Parkway."

I remembered how often he had spoken about his uncle's stone work.
"I want you to have these tools," he
said.
"Are you sure?" I asked, surprised he
would give them up. He had been a hosiery mill machine fixer for years and
treasured his own tools. As a child, I spent
Saturday mornings with my parents while
they worked in the mill. To pass the time,
I played with my father's tools. Perhaps he
remembered this.
"Yeah," he confirmed. So with my husband's help, I lugged the toolbox home,
honored by the gift.
Today I still have the old toolbox,
though I transferred the tools to a newer
metal toolbox my father gave me before
he died. I felt the tools would be safer in
this container.
Occasionally, I open my toolbox to
inspect the stone cutter's tools and imagine how Condia might have used them.
And now when I drive with my family
on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I find myself
saying, "My great-uncle helped build this
parkway."


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Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020

Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020 - 3
Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020 - 4
Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020 - 5
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Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020 - Cover4
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